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Acted superbly, and played from the view of a "survivor" telling the story to future generations, "Perfect Sense" gives us the love story of two people learning to feel in a world where the human senses are disappearing one by one.
Edinburgh, present day. The two characters start the movie alone, unfeeling and emotionally distant from the world, simply falling into their jobs, each with their own heavy emotional baggage, leaving them excuse to avoid intimacy.Society is unaware that a virus is spreading, taking human senses away one by one, the only sign of each attack coming is an overwhelming emotion. Circumstances bring together our two main characters, and they start to feel love again, but will the constantly changing balance of our senses shake the relationship loose?
While there are multiple scenarios and plot turns which fail to sizzle due to being over-used in other movies, the film contains a real sense of tenderness, in spite of having bleached tones, and quite unpleasant behaviour at times - this is massively helped by a beautiful score which is worth buying alongside the film.
The movie is a great romantic drama (albeit predictable), and is worth watching for a night in, but may just be a tad too serious for some romance lovers.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man / Tetsuo II: Body Hammer
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Tetsuo and Tetsuo II - classics of their domain (the first one more so) have been transferred from high-resolution source material, supervised by Shinya Tsukamoto (creator, director and actor) himself .
Unfortunately for humble DVD viewers (like myself), the high-definition transfer has to be downscaled back to our simple 576p (or thereabouts), and one side-effect of this is that the image is softened; a gentle blur, if you will. The grain of the original is still there, but somewhat softened. For quality purposes, this is a much better outcome - an easier image, no sharp edges, etc.
I can't help but feel this detracts from Tetsuo though - to me it's about being on a videotape, or camcorder-filmed; rough, dirty and raw.
The discs are split oddly - extras being the second disc, and both films being on the first - although this is merely a superficial complaint, the quality is fine.
Blu-ray viewers may find more of the raw visual elements which have been filtered out of the DVD version, but for the movies alone - I'll stick with my original releases.
Extras include trailers and the 45-minute "electric rod boy" movie which led Tsukamoto into the Tetsuo realm. A collector's treat, but if you can get it on Blu-Ray, the real treats will come in the films themselves.
The Doom Generation
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"A heterosexual movie by Greg Araki" is the subtitle for this movie, and after watching it, the sexuality is only one of the few things that linger. Stylish, nihilistic, aimless and violent (yes, it's about young people), the movie runs just under a fast pace to tell a modern-day bonnie and clyde story with a higher portrayal of sex and strong language.
Visually, the film is sensational, with tight shots of anything araki wishes to derail, and colour saturation and lighting shifted into overdrive. Fast-cutting made-up TV shows and news bulletins with the main events of the film give the movie a social voice against the view of youth, politics and other such cultures. The term "666" will often appear, a nod to the level of self-destruction and condemnation brought by the movie.
The soundtrack to the movie has a great sarcastic and nihilistic edge, sleek and fast moving with a voice of its own, if you can peel the music away from course dialog or misunderstandings and firearms.
The movie is a slick ride throughout, not too long or short, and fits in well with Araki's other work, as well as alongside the work of Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and even arthouse cinema.
Electric Dragon 80000V
Region 1 DVD
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The electric dragon is a reptile investigator, playing his guitar at night, and strapping himself into his electrically conductive bed at night - as a childhood electrocution has left him with a constant excess of 80,000v flowing through his body.
Thunderbolt Buddha is a TV service man, with electrical powers and his own plans for the world (carried out while wearing half a buddha mask), and must be stopped - but does anyone have the juice to stop him?
The battle is to be waged, in a low-budget hyperactive monochrome action flick which has all the charm and fun of any of the top of hollywood action flicks. Told in a comic-book style, this off-the-wall movie won't fail to entertain and deliver on its crazy promise.
The limited edition includes many extras and a soundtrack CD, including frame-by-frame FX walkthroughs, commentaries and sketches.
Highly recommended for asian cinema fans, especially those who like a little punk influence.
Enter The Void: Special Edition
A traumatic orphaning leaves Oscar and Linda (who swore never to be parted during the event) separated as children, longing to be back with one another. When of age, Oscar (etching out a living in Tokyo selling and using drugs, hanging out with artistic friends and dealers) manages to unscrupulously gathers the money to pay for Linda's ticket, re-joining them. Time has passed, and Linda is a stripper in a club, partnered with the selfish owner called Mario, and Oscar has done little more than further experiment with drugs, and leave a trail of emotional and financial scars in doing so.
One night, after a bust-up with a friend and "business" partner, Oscar finds himself in trouble with the police, and threatening them with a nonexistent gun, is shot through the chest. A dying Oscar mutters to himself internally and dies in a toilet cubicle.
What follows is the camera taking the role of a floating spectator, with internal noises and music to itself, watching the consequences of Oscar's recent life unfold, and flashing back to tell the story of how Oscar and Linda ended up where they are, as well as surreally diving between these situations. Although references to the Tibetan book of the dead are made early on, no direct explanation is given as to what this perspective means - is this Oscar's spirit refusing to leave Linda, is it his spirit watching over everyone, or being forced to watch by punishment, or is it Oscar's dying brain trying to piece together his life and his bodily trauma by producing such dream-like sequences? Director Gaspar Noe states he made the film to be the latter of these, but allows for suggestion.
The camerawork and visual effects are astounding in their use - some may find nothing groundbreaking, but the real effect is in internalising all these effects - making them seem like they're happening to a damaged, high or dying brain, ensuring a slight hallucinatory state, which is further helped by a very eclectic soundtrack.
Some may find this film boring (one version breaching 155 min), some may gain only travel sickness, and some may call it the best drugs movie ever made, but it's not fully any of these; it's a finite journey which likes to tickle at your perceptions, and if watched properly should leave you with a small moment of wondering if you've just watched a movie or if you're in a hallucinatory state.
Not for the easily shocked or upset, featuring scenes of first-person death, drug use, abortion and a rather miserable life (with language to match), the film is ultimately rewarding, and should stick with you - like it or not.
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"The unfilmable book" has been made into a film by one of cinema's only celluloid smiths capable of doing so - David Cronenberg.But - readers of the book beware - this isn't the book, this is a film about writing the book, but it's not, but it is.Taking parts from the book, and parts from the life of Burroughs, the film compiles a story of what is basically the writing process to an addict (I do apologise for what is probably a very reductive attempt at a description).
Shocking, daring, and definitely very technical, the story gives a feeling of eventual detachment from reality, and welcomes you into a world where the animatronic rubberized creatures from Cronenberg's mind seem to have more soul than the human characters.
This is a very odd movie with very odd subject matter, but ultimately, an excellent one. Buy it if you like weird thinky movies.
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Pinocchio 964 is a Japanese cyberpunk film, strongly relying on themes of human transformation, so if you've had a recommendation from someone who saw a "Tetsuo" movie in your collection, you're at the right place.
Set in a world where a company secretly supplies mind-wiped sex slaves, pinocchio is thrown out by his owner to the streets after being mind-wiped again. He survives thanks to a new found friend who maps the streets for similar cases. As he learns how to be human once more, he undergoes a transformation, and his friend undertakes her own, while avoiding the sex slave company, who are trying to silence them both (permanently) to cover their dealings.
It's not an easy watch, there isn't a great deal of dialogue in the movie, and there are some strong scenes (a literal 5 minutes of vomiting in one scene, and some violent effects alongside deliberately ugly photography), the movie stands in its own world, with its own sense of logic and works.
It takes a particular frame of mind to watch (the lack of dialogue, or at least meaningful dialogue) makes it at points makes it uncomfortable to watch, but gives a definite sense of achievement and purpose from watching it.
Allegedly unavailable in many places, this is a rare find, and worth the investment if you have a taste for such film.
Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (Japanese)
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Tetsuo II is a "re-imagining" of Tetsuo - taking the same concepts from the awesome first movie (which sits in pride of place in my collection next to this movie) and moving them into a different context.
Filmed in colour but with shifted hues and lighting, the concept at the heart of Tetsuo remains, but the story turns to higher conspiracy, and the transformation more through the manipulation of pure fury.
Although improvements are made on the visual aspects of the movie as well as the plot, the film doesn't quite feel the same for its shift into another context, and has a cooler feel throughout. It's still an excellent movie standalone or not, and should be bought at the same time as the first movie to complement it, I feel like its predecessor just can't be overshadowed.
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Very softly filmed, with a tender soundtrack and great performances from the young talent (one of whom is the son of the great Dennis Hopper), the film is less a "coming-of-age" drama, and more of tale of how the fear of death can numb someone to their life, and how love copes with the inevitable fact which unites us all.
Although sometimes a little too twee, and feeling a touch over-long, the film is touching and warm while looking at a cold subject, and should melt the hearts of anyone hoping for a tear-jerker. Frankly, I was skeptical, but the movie has proven itself.
Neither a chick-flick or a dude-fest, but something good for couples to snuggle in and watch on a cold night.
Fear Factory - CD
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Fear factory have returned, with another new lineup, focusing the return of Dino Cazares on guitar, and Gene Holgan on Drums. The sound has partially returned to the beauty of "Demanufacture", but also holds a more modern sound. There are more variations on the riffs and licks used (as opposed to overstretching a few riffs), a solo or two, and the keyboards have returned to widen the sound. As a bonus, the UK 'digipak' has a re-recording of 1992's "Crash Test" (from "Soul of a new machine"), and it plays very well, although the Japanese release features a re-recording of "Martyr", which I would have preferred. All in all, watch this lineup, they're gonna be big if they keep this up.